Monday, August 06, 2007

Still Going on About my Trip

Day 4: July 15th

Sunday we got a late start, but reasonable considering we are still battling jet lag and hadn’t loaded the camper yet. On to the summer cottage!! We stopped at Porvoo. Porvoo is pretty much as I (don’t) remember it. Very nice, but somehow not that memorable. We had tea at a Russian style café (Helmi) and I ate a Runenburg pastry. This is named after the Porvoo poet Runenberg. It was good—kind of like a spice cake without raisins. And it had Runenberg berries on it. There’s nothing I like better than eating indigenous pastries around the world.

Then we stopped at Korvala for lunch at the much Temo-exulted ABC. ABC is the place to get everything—food, gas, and a grocery store, 24hrs a day. Although, M. calls it “AB-C you later”. Not a fan. And they have a nice buffet. I am humbled/embarrassed to see how difficult it is for me to function alone in Finland. I couldn’t order any of the food by myself—I really should bone up on some basic phrases like “chicken”.

We didn’t have time to stop in Kotko, so we went on to Lappeenranta. I don’t think we did Lappeenranta before. It was really fantastic for the kids—all 20 minutes of rain-soaked fun we had there. There is some festival which involves a sand sculpture contest and one even had a real car on it so Geister was thrilled. Boo was thrilled to discover that playing in wet sand is as fun as playing in dry sand, maybe more so. She got filthy, and cried when we dragged her away.

Does it look like the car is on my head Mommy?

Wet sand is more fun than dry.

Then we reached Imatra just in time to see the dam waterfall thing. We parked the RV and Temo asked me to step outside. He had his parents waiting there to meet me. It was so sweet. He asked if I remembered them, and I did (by logical guess and vague recognition, though I certainly don’t remember their names). His mother sort of smiled and seemed shy/nervous/mute because she doesn’t speak English, but his father gave me a hug, and then stood then smiling at me, in a I never thought I’d see you again kind of way. I loved showing them Gesister and Boo. My children make me proud.

The falls were better than I remembered, maybe it was because of the music which is new.

Then we went to a grocery store to buy food for our trip. This was a challenge for many reasons: -I don’t know what to buy, even in English. We only have a stove and small pots, and not too much storage space
-everything is in Finnish, so how do I know what things are?
-we were tired and it was late

After an hour or so, we emerged with some success. When we reached the camper, we saw that M. had not changed the kids into pajamas, nor fed them. We also saw that Geister had poop on his hands, because as he claims, his bum was itchy. This was a disgusting but minor mess. We are lucky that we did not forgot to purchase soap.

We arrived at the cottage at 10-ish, and tried to get the kids to bed. This was difficult. I got Geister to sleep by telling him a story of how he and his sister climbed some rocks at a church, but Boo screamed and would not settle. It was close to midnight when she went to sleep. At that point, the womens (Finnishism) had already saunaed (not Grandma), and it was the men’s turn. Temo, M. and Grandpa. I did love that. I loved that they were off experiencing true Finland, at midnight, under the light summer sky. I don’t know when everyone went to bed.

Day 5: July 16th

Blissful cottage day. Day to do nothing but relax, except that this trip is not relaxing. I wrote this in the few spare seconds I had to myself:

I am finally alone in the camper. Circumstances have conspired to keep me with people for the entire time so far (even at night) and I think I’m going mental. At night, I sleep (fitfully) with Geister squished up against me, or alternatively as last night, Geister so far from me I’m afraid he’ll fall out of the bed. He did fall out once last night, but it was a short distance to the ground and he landed on his knees. No harm done; he fell back asleep immediately.

Then it was time to eat or something and that was that.

So I would have written about how the kids loved the playhouse, how Geister wanted to swim the whole day, and how I am reading a terrible book.

Day 6: July 17th

Off to Savonlinna today. This is a town approximately an hour and a half from where we are, but the drive is worth it. There is a castle here called Olavinlinna which is gorgeous, and there’s always an opera festival in the summer. We stopped at a Marimekko sale (Sale is “ale.” Learned a new word!) and I bought a few things.

Once we got to Savonlinna we toured the castle right away. The thing about castles is, they’re not that child-friendly. Boo and Geister ran around on the rough stone floor while we were waiting for our tour to start, and both of them fell and Geister’s cut was bloody. Neither could we take the strollers on the tour. So we carried Boo, and sometimes Geister, up treacherous steps and into turrets, and carefully guided them along walkways to other turrets. Finally, after seeing the most interesting toilet ever—an open seat high high above the waters of the moat—I decided to wait with Boo while the others went on to even higher battlements.

After the castle, we ate lunch, I checked e-mail, and we made a stop in Puumala for groceries. This is notable for only two reasons: one, the new bridge tower that has been recently built there from which you can see “typical Finnish lake land”; two, I saw the biggest bug I have ever seen in my life. I mean, in Finland of all places! Geister saw it first. We were on the docks, studying one of the boats, and he pointed down to the water and said, “What’s that, Mommy?”
I looked and saw a creature as big as a mouse, crawling along the rope that attached the boat to the dock. A beetle like thing. A creepy, crawly, beetle—maybe more like cockroach—like huge black bug crawling towards the dock. We showed Emmi who said she’d never seen it before, except for the one time she saw one in the dining room at the cottage.

Sauna again when we got back to the cottage. I love the smell of the sauna. I love swimming in the lake. I love sitting and watching the sun.

1 comment:

Aunt Sassy said...

I love the travel posting! Keep going...